Prey is a first-person shooter with role-playing game elements and strong narrative. The player takes the role of Morgan Yu, a human aboard a space station with numerous hostile aliens.
The player will be able to select certain attributes of Yu, including gender, and decision made by the player will affect elements of the game's story. To survive, the player controls Yu to collect and use weapons and resources aboard the station to fend off and defeat the aliens. According to creative director Raphael Colantonio, the station will be completely continuous rather than having separate levels or missions, at times requiring the player to return to areas they previously explored.
The player will also be able to move around the outside of the station in zero gravity and find shortcuts connecting parts of the station. Colantonio also stated that the aliens have an array of different powers that the player-character can gain over time; one such alien has the ability to mimic everyday items such as a chair.